NIPS Proceedingsβ

Enhancing the Accuracy and Fairness of Human Decision Making

Part of: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NIPS 2018) pre-proceedings

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Conference Event Type: Poster


Societies often rely on human experts to take a wide variety of decisions affecting their members, from jail-or-release decisions taken by judges and stop-and-frisk decisions taken by police officers to accept-or-reject decisions taken by academics. In this context, each decision is taken by an expert who is typically chosen uniformly at random from a pool of experts. However, these decisions may be imperfect due to limited experience, implicit biases, or faulty probabilistic reasoning. Can we improve the accuracy and fairness of the overall decision making process by optimizing the assignment between experts and decisions? In this paper, we address the above problem from the perspective of sequential decision making and show that, for different fairness notions from the literature, it reduces to a sequence of (constrained) weighted bipartite matchings, which can be solved efficiently using algorithms with approximation guarantees. Moreover, these algorithms also benefit from posterior sampling to actively trade off exploitation---selecting expert assignments which lead to accurate and fair decisions---and exploration---selecting expert assignments to learn about the experts' preferences and biases. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithms on both synthetic and real-world data and show that they can significantly improve both the accuracy and fairness of the decisions taken by pools of experts.